CUFI Nights

I missed this from a couple of weeks ago (emphasis added for mirth value):

A pro-Israel Christian group has changed its Web site banner image after learning the photo was doctored…The Muslim mosques on the Temple Mount were missing.

[Christians United for Israel], as the pro-Israel group is known, was unaware that the photo was altered when it was selected for the Web site, the group’s executive director, David Brog, told JTA.

I blogged on Brog (who hasn’t made any declaration of belonging to the Christian faith that I can find) a few months ago. We can see how he and his associates might have overlooked the bit of Islamic architecture.

The connotations of the first image were rather embarrassing – after all, a deranged follower of Herbert Armstrong had tried to burn down the al-Aqsa mosque in 1969, while certain far-right Israeli groups have plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock:

“If there is any doubt, I didn’t want that picture,” Brog said. “I don’t want people to be able to attribute to us an agenda that does not exist. We were looking for a pretty picture of Jerusalem and nothing more.”

But what is the “agenda” of CUFI? The involvement of pastor John Hagee (responsible for the baroque “New World Order” sermon available here) has already put off one invitee to one of its “Night to Honor Israel” events:

A Minnesota congresswoman declined an invitation to attend “A Night to Honor Israel,” saying the views of the event’s evangelical founder are “repugnant.”

…”Well-publicized statements by Pastor Hagee demonstrate extremism, bigotry and intolerance that is repugnant,” U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, said in a two-page reply declining a form invitation from Pastor Mac Hammond.

(Mac Hammond is another figure I blogged recently – he’s linked with Christian Zionist/prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland, and he’s recently come under investigation over “a sweetheart deal on a plane lease, possibly violating federal tax law”)

However, while McCollum missed out on the Minneapolis honour-fest, presidential candidate Duncan Hunter is still up for a similar shindig planned for Northern Virginia (let’s hope he doesn’t send his son instead). World Net Daily has more details:

WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah will deliver the keynote address at “A Night to Honor Israel,” sponsored by the Jerusalem Connection and Christians United for Israel

“We will be celebrating Israel’s 59th birthday with our Jewish friends and acknowledging the relevance of Shavuot for Christian Zionists,” explained James M. Hutchens, president of the Jerusalem Connection. “Shavuot is the time when the book of Ruth is emphasized. Ruth is the proto-type of the non-Jew who pledges unconditional allegiance to Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law. Ruth is a symbol of the Christian Zionist support for Israel and the Jewish people today.”

(I recently noted a comment by an African evangelist that African Christians would “would love to kiss the feet of a Jew”; perhaps he meant that he wanted to “lie at the feet of Boaz”?)

Jerusalem Connection is particularly keen to help Jews move to Israel, in accordance with its understanding of Biblical prophecy. One of its projects is the “Cyrus Fund“, which aims to track down Shepardic Jews who headed from Spain to South America post-1492:

After the Spanish Expulsion in 1492, many Sephardic Jews migrated to the “New World,” to the Americas… Now, many Bnai Anusim, the lost Sephardic Jews in Latin and South America, are—five hundred years after their ancestors were forcefully converted to Catholicism—discovering their Jewish identities and Hebraic roots for the first time.

…The Jerusalem Connection will even provide a means whereby Bnai Anusim can check to find out if their DNA actually qualifies them as a Sephardic Jew. If the DNA tests confirm their identity and they want to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel, we want to help them do just that through our own Cyrus Fund.

But what about those living in Israel and the West Bank not fortunate enough to have the right DNA? Hutchens (a former military man) is OK with Arab-Israelis, but

…the Palestinians do not qualify for the protections to be given to those under Israel’s God-ordained governance. The so-called “Palestinians” under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, are loath to have Israel as their sovereign authority. The Palestinian, as well as the Arab, goal of peace envisions the total elimination of Israel as a nation and a people. The Palestinian flag portrays the current boundaries of Israel as being the boundaries of a future Palestine.

Also in attendance will be David Rubin, who is a former mayor of the West Bank settlement of Shiloh (a stronghold of the militant Gush Emunim) and the survivor of a terrorist attack that also nearly killed his child. His Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund provides a palatable way for Christians to donate money to the settlers’ cause.

However, McCollum is not the only CUFI-sceptic:

Jewish leaders who have been critical of Jewish participation in local “Nights to Honor Israel” say they have been pressured into silence.

“The pressure has been enormous,” said a prominent Jewish leader who said he was contacted by local community officials after he raised questions about a local CUFI event. “I can’t even talk about it now; I feel a real sense of intimidation because people in our own community are saying I’m opposing something that’s good for Israel, that I’m hurting Israel.”

On the other hand, there have been complaints coming from some conservative Christians about pressures to tone down the evangelising; in 2006 the executive director of Jews for Jesus claimed that there was

…an “ongoing agenda” among certain Jewish leaders who he says want to “undermine Christian evangelism by trying to shape Christian theology.”

In March, Christian Zionist Janet Parnell broke with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus over the issue.

8 Responses

  1. […] by the way, works closely with John Hagee at Christian United for Israel. CUFI, which I blogged on here, links evangelicals with the Israeli […]

  2. […] John Hagee is anything to go by. Hagee’s Christian United for Israel, which I previously blogged here, recently held its second annual conference in Washington. The Jerusalem Post reports on some of […]

  3. […] for Israel. Back in May there was a bit of a controversy when it was noted that the CUFI website carried a logo which showed a view of Jerusalem from which the Dome of the Rock was missing. Brog expressed […]

  4. Does any good Christian realize that Israelies are mostly Kazarian “Jews”? In otherwords: TURKS, formerly from southern Russia. How can one receive a blessing praying for Turks??? Jews from the TRIBE of Judah are the Sephardim and they are very few in the world. See Arthur Koestler’s Book: THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE.

  5. […] few souls, however, have declined to squeeze into bed with him, as I also noted a year ago: A Minnesota congresswoman declined an invitation to attend “A Night to Honor […]

  6. […] same image was at the centre of a similar controversy back in 2007, when it was used as a banner logo by Christians United for Israel. CUFI revised the picture […]

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